Philadelphia, PA – On the morning of his first preseason game after a long road to the NBA, 76ers center Joel Embiid has spent a fidgety day at the team’s practice facility, dealing with butterflies before making his professional basketball debut.
Head Coach Brett Brown said athletes tend to deal with nervous energy in their own ways. Some sit in a corner by themselves to think, others listen to their music before game time, others can’t stop talking to their teammates, he said.
Dario Saric, another 76ers rookie, has taken to joking around with his teammates and calling his family this morning, Brown said.
Embiid has taken a different approach.
“JoJo is just amped up for the game tonight. He told me he watched the 1989 Jean Claude Van Damme classic ‘Kickboxer’ last night to get himself in the right frame of mind. Now he’s just been kicking a concrete pillar in the bathroom for the past hour. Says it puts him in the right mindset. Ok, whatever,” Brown said.
Several team physicians have expressed grave concern that Embiid is kicking the pillar with his twice surgically repaired foot.
Embiid calmed any worries team officials may have had when he explained it “toughened the bones.”
“Tong Po was so cool. I’m going to KILL IT tonight. Hiyaaaaaaaa!” He screamed, hobbling away from the pillar for the morning shoot around.
At press time, Brown said he last saw Embiid wrapping his fists with pieces of a burlap sack that had shards of glass glued to it.